APPEALED FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HICKMAN COUNTY AT CENTERVILLE, TENNESSEE. THE HONORABLE CORNELIA A. CLARK, JUDGE. No. 92-5022C.
Ben H. Cantrell, Judge, Concur: Samuel L. Lewis, Judge, William C. Koch, Jr., Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cantrell
The Circuit Court of Hickman County granted the owner of a trailer park summary judgment on claims for personal injuries and wrongful death based on a breach of the lease and an oral warranty. We affirm.
Bess Mai Besson and her son, George Michael Simmons, lived in a trailer park owned by the defendant, Dottie McClearen. George Kenneth "Buddy" Simmons, father of George Michael Simmons, also lived at the trailer, but he was not a party to the lease. On August 23, 1991 Buddy Simmons was shot and critically injured and Bess Mai Besson was killed outside the trailer by some other residents of the park and their kinsmen.
Buddy Simmons sued the assailants and Dottie McClearen on behalf of himself and his son, alleging various causes of action. The actions against Dottie McClearen -- the only ones involved in this appeal -- included common law negligence, the violation of provisions in Bess Mai Besson's lease, and the breach of an oral warranty given by Dottie McClearen. The trial Judge granted summary judgment to Dottie McClearen on the claims based on the lease and the oral warranty.
Dottie McClearen provided low rent housing for persons in need of state assistance. In conjunction with the state program, Ms. McClearen entered into a Housing Assistance Payments Contract with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA or PHA, Public Housing Agency). The contract with THDA obligated Ms. McClearen to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing in accordance with 24 C.F.R. Section 882.109. That section reads:
Housing used in this program shall meet the Performance Requirements set forth in this section. In addition, the housing shall meet the Acceptability Criteria set forth in this section except for such variations as are proposed by the PHA and approved by HUD. Local climatic or geological conditions or local codes are examples which may justify such variations.
The two Performance Requirements and their accompanying Acceptability Criteria relied on by the plaintiff are (c) and (k). They provide:
(c) Space and security -- (1) Performance Requirement. The dwelling unit shall afford the Family adequate space and security.
(2) Acceptability criteria. The dwelling unit shall contain a living room, kitchen area, and bathroom. The dwelling unit shall contain at least one bedroom or living/sleeping room of appropriate size for each two persons. Persons of opposite sex, other than husband and wife or very young children, shall not be required to occupy the same bedroom or living/sleeping room. Exterior doors and windows accessible from outside the unit shall be lockable.
(k) Site and neighborhood -- (1) Performance requirement. The site and neighborhood shall be reasonably free from disturbing noises and reverberations and other hazards to the ...